'()*,)I lt;7=-1&gt lt;JGKLM-/2&gt

101  Download (0)

Full text

(1)01234356176389

(2) 8 156 7516   7

(3) 757 51 75 

(4). 018463. !"#$%&'()'*+, -./01234567896:;<=>?@A8BCD;EA>8F !"#$%(G('H, ./01I00J234567896:;BDK85LAMN>OB?FAB<=>PQ96R<7S?@A8BCD;EA>8F. ./01I0T/234567896:;>U4BD9AM:VLN>:F<=>PQ96R<7S?@A8BCD;EA>8F W ('&'XYZ, [5746 \757]3 8 ^Z!(Y%&'XYZ, _B7C`=QaR?BDBbBcA>:@defLQdgQhQ. i5U7=7LP0jk.

(5) 0123435617615895 64

(6) 61 5 157. 3 76  343

(7) 574

(8)  . 7 63463 1. !"##$% &'()*+,-./0-121.343456718139.1:.4;<7=-1>?-/74;.1:?/077<? @"ABC$D% '()*,))E+,-./0-1,1.34345671F7=-1G-/74;.1:G/077<?>H45<3?0 PC% $WXD%. F3L-1-/d)ef. '()*,)I(+,-./0-121.34345671<7=-1>?-/74;.1:?/077<JGKLM-/2> N3O3/?J 958Q74

(9) QR757S T3 UV Y.-;Z1J[K\.4.].^_7O`aNG/JabJcJ.

(10)

(11)

(12) 0123456789.

(13)   

(14) 

(15) ! " #$%&'(')(***+,& $-- ./*01$

(16)  

(17) &.  !2#$ 3,42536  # 7# $7#-

(18) -88, 253& 5"

(19) 

(20) ,$ "

(21) 

(22) $  ! 9 -$%253:" 8 !253  ;# $

(23) <$ 

(24) 

(25)   8

(26)  #$%-71& =

(27)   

(28)   !

(29)    $

(30) !$

(31)  -

(32) - $

(33)  & +% !%!#

(34) 11!#

(35) $" $

(36) >++2?@& = A BA.

(37) Anotace. Diferenciace výuky v hodinách anglického jazyka na 2. stupni základní školy Diplomová práce pojednává o využití diferenciace jako specifické formy výuky anglického jazyka na 2. stupni ZŠ. Cílem práce je poukázat na možnosti adaptace vyučovacího procesu dle individuálních potřeb žáků v heterogenní třídě a navrhnout takové strategie a aktivity, které by respektovaly zvláštnosti, schopnosti a zájmy vybrané skupiny žáků. Navržené hodiny anglického jazyka budou vyzkoušeny v běžných hodinách anglického jazyka na vybrané základní škole a jejich efektivita následně posouzena dle konkrétních učebních výsledků žáků a jejich reakcí z dotazníku. Klíčová slova: didaktika anglického jazyka, diferenciace výuky, heterogenní třída, žáky 2. stupně ZŠ, individuální potřeby žáka, instrukce v didaktice, aktivity v didaktice.

(38) Summary. Differentiating Instruction in EFL Classes at Lower Secondary Schools The diploma thesis deals with the use of differentiation as a specific form of English language teaching at the 2nd level of elementary schools. The aim of the work is to point out the possibilities of adapting the teaching process according to individual needs of pupils in a mixed-ability class and to propose strategies and activities that would respect the peculiarities, abilities and interests of a selected group of pupils. The proposed English language lessons will be tested in regular English language classes at a selected elementary school and their effectiveness will then be assessed according to the pupils’ specific learning outcomes and their responses to a questionnaire. Key words: didactics of English language, differentiation of teaching, mixed-ability classes, pupils of 2nd level elementary schools, individual needs of the pupil, instruction in didactics, didactic activities.

(39) Poděkování: Ráda bych vyjádřila své poděkování vedoucí mé diplomové práce, PaedDr. Zuzaně Šaffkové CSc., M.A., za cenné rady a doporučení, které přispěly ke konečné podobě této práce.. Acknowledgments: I would like to express my thanks to the supervisor of my Diploma Thesis PaedDr. Zuzana Šaffková, CSc. M.A. for her valuable advice and recommendations which helped towards the final version of this work..

(40) CONTENT Introduction........................................................................................................................................... 11 1. Mixed Ability classes ..................................................................................................................... 12. 2. Child Development ........................................................................................................................ 14. 3. 4. 5. 6. 2.1. Cognitive Development ......................................................................................................... 14. 2.2. Psychosocial Development.................................................................................................... 16. 2.3. Moral Development .............................................................................................................. 17. 2.4. Implications of Pupils’ Maturity for the Teacher................................................................... 19. Learners’ Variables ........................................................................................................................ 20 3.1. Intelligence ............................................................................................................................ 20. 3.2. Memory ................................................................................................................................. 21. 3.3. Motivation ............................................................................................................................. 22. 3.4. Learning Styles and Strategies............................................................................................... 24. 3.5. Learner Autonomy................................................................................................................. 26. 3.6. Knowledge and Experience ................................................................................................... 27. 3.7. Implications of Learner’s Variables for the Teacher ............................................................. 27. Teaching Mixed Ability Classes...................................................................................................... 29 4.1. The Class as a Social Group ................................................................................................... 29. 4.2. Disadvantages of Mixed Ability Classes................................................................................. 30. 4.3. Advantages of Mixed Ability Classes ..................................................................................... 30. Differentiated Instruction.............................................................................................................. 31 5.1. Characteristics of Differentiated Instruction......................................................................... 31. 5.2. Differentiated Content in Language Learning ....................................................................... 32. 5.3. Differentiated process in Language Learning ........................................................................ 35. 5.4. Differentiated Product in Language Learning ....................................................................... 39. Practical Part ................................................................................................................................. 41 6.1. Characteristics of the School ................................................................................................. 42. 6.2. Characteristics of the Class.................................................................................................... 42. 6.3. Academic Success and Characteristics of the Pupils ............................................................. 45. 6.4. Learning Style Questionnaire for the Pupils .......................................................................... 48. 6.5. Interests Questionnaire for the Pupils .................................................................................. 50. 6.6. First Lesson – Differentiating Process ................................................................................... 55. 6.7. Reflection on lesson 1 ........................................................................................................... 57. 6.8. Second Lesson – Differentiating Content .............................................................................. 61 9.

(41) 7. 6.9. Reflection on lesson 2 ........................................................................................................... 63. 6.10. Third Lesson – Differentiating Product ................................................................................. 67. 6.11. Reflection on lesson 3 ........................................................................................................... 69. Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 72. References ............................................................................................................................................. 76 Appendix 1 – Learning Preferences Questionnaire............................................................................... 79 Appendix 2 – Interests Survey ............................................................................................................... 80 Appendix 3 – Lesson 1 ........................................................................................................................... 81 Appendix 4 – Lessson 2 ......................................................................................................................... 86 Appendix 5 – Lesson 3 ........................................................................................................................... 92 Appendix 6 – Examples of Pupils’ Work - .............................................................................................. 97. 10.

(42) Introduction The impulse that led me to find out more about mixed ability classes started during my teaching experience. I was in charge of teaching small classes of pupils who had completely different needs as children stepping into adolescence and especially as learners of English Language. A long time has passed since Comenius insisted on education for all. Today, with the proliferation of knowledge, educating means developing the ability to learn, to decide the relevance and the logic of a piece of knowledge, and to use it in a creative way, according to values that are beneficial to the welfare of humanity as Comenius conceived it. Educating all people is also a motto that should be updated to the situation of hyperconsumers’ society that we are living in. The school is no longer the only source of knowledge. In an era of informational revolution, children can choose to look up information that suit their individual interest and inclinations, making their experience quite specific and not necessarily similar to their peers. Policy makers have always been aware of the importance of schooling in shaping the features of their future society. Various theories were experienced aiming at increasing the effectiveness of learning at schools, so that each individual could develop his intellectual and social potential in an optimal manner. The history of education displays many subsequent attempts to create homogeneous classes that were followed by reform theories seeking more equitable and heterogeneous classes which promote equal opportunities. Today’s trend is in favour of inclusion and of teaching strategies that take mixed ability classes into account. I hope this diploma work will contribute to more insight into the problematic of mixed ability classes and the strategies that are possible and available for teachers facing the challenge.. 11.

(43) 1. Mixed Ability classes. Mixed-ability classes represent a relatively new issue in the science of education. A growing need to tackle this problem emerged due to the changing lifestyle of the late 20th and 21st centuries. There are many factors in our times that contribute more than ever in creating mixed ability classes. The first of these factors is globalization. The rise of the global market and the development of means of transport and communication increase interaction between people and promote migration. Pupils of quite different socio-cultural backgrounds are an integral part of the standard class population nowadays. The second factor is the influence of the media. In the 20th century, people used to listen to the same radio stations and watch two or three television canals. They were exposed to similar knowledge, values and beliefs. On the contrary, the younger generation today chooses the kind of information according to personal interest. Some pupils are individually focused on certain topics, and have deep knowledge of them while other pupils concentrate on completely different issues. Research is done to depict how social media and the virtual worlds of computer games affect the children’s perception of the world. The third factor is the new concept of inclusion, which constitutes an actual objective in European educational policy. It is somehow a response to the growing variety of students’ population. But it also implies the integration of pupils with special needs. Besides, there are also specific factors linked to the particularities of different educational systems. In the Czech educational system, for instance, children in the 5th grade can choose to go to grammar school on the basis of an entrance examinaton. As a result, some of the primary schools lack the skillful pupils. Also, in some elementary schools pupils are further divided into better and weaker classes. These weaker classes are what can be described as “acute cases of mixed ability” to use the term of Prodromou (1992, 7). Prodromou states that all classes can be considered heterogeneous because even in the homogeneous class there are pupils who differ in many ways (Ibid. 7). Though, this diploma work focuses on the general concept of a heterogeneous class in comparison with a homogeneous one:. 12.

(44) Homogeneous classes are defined as classes into which pupils are enrolled on the basis of a selection criterion, usually according to their ability, level of intelligence, learning pace or learning outcomes, in addition to age. The class is made up of pupils that are similar in a certain aspect. On the other hand, mixed ability classes, also called heterogeneous classes, are defined as classes composed of pupils of the same age, irrespective of their abilities and learning skills (Průcha, Walterová and Mareš 2013, 90). Pupils can differ in the development of their cognitive functions, their feelings, beliefs, motivation, experience, knowledge, learning styles and language skills (Ibid.). 13.

(45) 2. Child Development. At the 2nd level of elementary schools children are from 11 to 15 years old. They belong to an age category that has been extensively studied. There are many developmental theories which classify the stages of the child’s development in its different intellectual aspects, dealing among others with cognitive, psycho-social and moral development. Some of them were chosen for the purpose of the diploma work: Piaget’s CognitiveDevelopmental Theory, Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, Erikson’s Eight Stages of Life, and Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. 2.1. Cognitive Development. The most influential theory of cognitive development is the concept of Jean Piaget, a psychologist who describes the development of thought processes according to age. He divides child cognitive development into four Periods (Crain 2014, 122): The Sensorimotor Period: it usually lasts till the second year of age. It is a period in which knowledge relies on motor activities and responses in addition to sensory perceptions and stimuli. The Preoperational Period: between the ages of 2 to 6. In this stage, the ability of learning begins but the child is not able to fully understand the logic of a concrete situation. The Concrete Operational Period: between the age of 7 to approximately 11. In this period the child learns to manipulate the information mentally and begins to think logically except for abstract concepts and hypotheses. The child can classify items, understand mental operations like conservation and transitivity or generalize a certain experience by induction. The Formal Operational Period: from the approximate age of 12. A period in which the adolescent begins to understand abstract concepts and use systematic planning. They can make a hypothesis and deduce results that do not belong to reality. They can use symbols and understand abstract terms such as justice or love. The present study focuses on pupils in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th classes according to the Czech educational system. Pupils are in transition between the Concrete Operational stage and the Formal Operational stage according to Piaget.. 14.

(46) This fact requires a type of learning activities that challenges logical reasoning, and gradually promotes abstraction without neglecting the importance of concretization and demonstrative examples. The aim of Piaget was to meet the requirement of differences in the cognitive development of learners and not to assign a kind of learning for which the pupils are not mature enough. Another developmental psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, went further and stated that learning has an important role in the cognitive development of a child. He introduced the concept of the zone of proximate development which is defined as “the difference between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem. Fig. 1 Vygotsky’s ZPD 1 0F. solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Vygotsky 1978, 86). It is the zone of possible improvement of the learner’s level through the teaching process. It is a gap between what children can do unaided in a particular situation, and what they can accomplish with the help of adults. Following the above mentioned theory, teachers should provide a good deal of assistance at first, but reduce it as the child becomes able to work on his own. This is equivalent to the term “scaffolding”, which means that the teacher’s assistance is like a temporary scaffold that comes down when construction is finished (Crain 2014, 259). In fact, Piaget’ theory focuses on the adjustment of learning to the development of the child whereas Vygotsky emphasizes the role of learning in activating the cognitive development of a child. A more recent author, Krashen 1985, refers to the Comprehensive Input in language learning. He states that in the teaching process, input should be a little above the understanding of the learner so that he/she can still infer its meaning (Hedge 2000, 10). On the other hand, he also notes that intake, or the assimilation of knowledge by the. 1. ZPD: Zone of Proximal Development.. 15.

(47) learner, is not only affected by the learner’s age in terms of cognitive abilities and skills, but also in terms of emotions and motivation (Ibid. 10). In order to be effective, the teaching process should challenge the thoughts, stimulate emotions, enhance motivation and provide assistance. 2.2. Psychosocial Development. Learning depends on many factors, one of them is the well-being of the child in the school environment. This is linked to a degree of maturity of the child’s personality that should be supported at school as well as at home. Eric Erikson suggests in his Psychosocial Development Theory that there are eight stages in the life of a human-being, each of them corresponds to a specific internal crisis. By learning from life experience and completing these stages successfully, a child can grow as a mature and integral personality and have healthy relationships with the other and with himself /herself. On the contrary, if there is failure in coping with the developmental experiences, the individual would have to deal with consequences further on in the course of life (Fontana 1997, 263). Erikson associates these stages with eight life crises that every person should overcome successfully in order to become mature. Each stage corresponds to a virtue that the person would need to develop a healthy personality: -. Infants should learn the virtue of hope and the ability to trust others and the world as such.. -. Toddlers. develop. will,. autonomy. and. confidence as opposed to the lack of selfesteem. -. Pre-schoolers gain a sense of purpose and initiative versus passivity and the feeling of guilt.. -. School children attempt to be competent and to feel successful instead of feeling inferior. Fig. 2 Stages of Psychosocial Development. 16.

(48) -. Teenagers begin to be loyal to a set of values and try to integrate their different social roles to form a consistent and unique identity,. -. Young adults need to form genuine relationships and love while avoiding loneliness and isolation,. -. Middle age adults seek to give their life meaning that would outlast them by caring for others,. -. Older adults need to accept their life journey and feel fulfilment and wisdom. If they fail in doing that, they spend the rest of their life with feelings of regret and despair. (Mc. Leod 2017) The completion of Erikson’s stages of development are relatively individual in terms of age. These psychosocial characteristics are also part of the diversity factors in the classroom. Fontana states that it is possible to speak about child maturity. Mature children have virtues that other children lack, as it applies to adults. The role of the teacher is to support the level of maturity of the child. The teacher should provide children with opportunities of personal growth by allowing them to express themselves and to feel success, by offering them the possibility of decision-making, by giving them responsibility for themselves and for others. The teacher should also enhance cooperation between peers or within the larger society to help training the interpersonal and social skills of the children in an environment of mutual respect (Fontana 1997, 265). 2.3. Moral Development. In his theory of cognitive development, Piaget notices differences between children and adults that also concern moral reasoning. Children consider rules to be universal and unchangeable as if given from a higher divine authority, therefore they tend to obey the rules to avoid punishment. Piaget determines the age of 10 to 11 as the time when a shift occurs. This age coincides with the beginning of the Formal Operation stage. From that age onwards, rules are perceived to be relative to the authority they come from and the viewpoint they represent. So adolescents begin to base their moral judgement on the motif of the behaviour (Crain 2014, 118).. 17.

(49) Lawrence Kohlberg builds his Theory of Moral Development on Piaget’s findings and goes beyond to classify three levels and six stages of moral development based on the principle of justice (Crain 2014, 162-166): Level 1. Pre-conventional Morality: -. Stage 1. Obedience and Punishment Orientation: young children perceive rules as given and unchangeable and they make moral judgements based on the consequences of a behaviour, usually in an egocentric way, trying to avoid punishment.. -. Stage 2. Individualism and Exchange: Children realize that different individuals have different viewpoints. They solve a moral dilemma as an exchange or a deal between individuals who have conflicting interests. Level II. Conventional Morality:. -. Stage 3. Good Interpersonal Relationships: young people are aware of the expectations of the group or the community and try to comply with its values.. -. Stage 4. Maintaining the Social Order: young people are concerned with the society as a whole. They understand the notions of law, duty and social order. Level III. Post-conventional Morality:. -. Stage 5. Social Contract and Individual Rights: people understand individual rights and they are concerned about how the society might be improved to be more democratic and fair for all.. -. Stage 6: Universal Principles: people understand that even under democratic laws injustice may occur and they tend to look for intuitive universal principles to achieve justice. A possible seventh stage consists of reasoning as being part of something much larger than oneself, as a part of a transcendent whole. It’s a kind of spirituality urging to behave according to what one believes to be right (Crain 2014, 167). Kohlberg thought that morality is neither genetically encoded nor it is the result of cognitive maturity that develops according to stages. He believed that moral stages are the result of a mental process confronting one’s viewpoint with the viewpoints of the 18.

(50) others. Morality is a form of thinking that is promoted through cooperative activities and discussion that develop in the child the conception of what is just (Crain 2014, 169). Kohlberg’s theory is important for teachers of Lower Secondary schools. Teenagers are attentive to the teacher’s attitude and behaviour, they like to discuss topics that concern interpersonal relations and society. Children also benefit from cooperative activities and interaction between peers, especially in language classes. They can confront their different ideas and attitudes and understand the necessity of tolerance and mutual respect to work efficiently in a group. 2.4. Implications of Pupils’ Maturity for the Teacher. To conclude this overview of developmental theories, a summary on their implications for the teacher is appropriate. The teacher of Lower Secondary school pupils is expected to promote the child’s personality growth by: -. Introducing abstract reasoning, problem solving and training systematic planning.. -. Providing challenging tasks while assisting and scaffolding the child’s learning process.. -. Training interpersonal and social skills, responsibility and cooperation.. -. Providing opportunities for the teenagers to express themselves in an environment of mutual respect.. -. Being in his/her attitudes and behaviour an example of the democratic citizen who believes in individual rights and justice for all.. -. Providing opportunities for discussions on topics of interest for the teenagers where they can confront their ideas and reflect on them.. 19.

(51) 3. Learners’ Variables. The learning aptitude of children changes with age, with the degree of their development and with affective factors of their personality. At all ages though, learners also vary in many ways such as their type of intelligence, their motivation, their learning strategies, and their experience. 3.1. Intelligence. Intelligence is defined as the ability to see relationships and to use these relationships to solve problems (Fontana 1997, 102), or as the ability to perceive information, and to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards adaptive behaviours within an environment (Intelligence: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2018). Referring to intelligence, teachers may consider two major issues discussed by psychologists. The first is whether intelligence is genetically transmitted or whether it is the result of how stimulating are the environment and the society in which the child is brought up. Both factors are relevant and psychologists are not unanimous on which of them predominates (Fontana 1997, 120). The importance of the environmental aspect implies that the teacher’s role means much more than activating the intelligence that is “already” in the child. The teacher becomes an active part of the child’s environment, whatever is the child’s gender, economical or cultural background. The second issue is whether intelligence is a quality that can be measured according to a test that is valid for all. Gardner suggests that it is very narrow to define the intelligence of a person with a single number, the IQ score. He argues that „ intelligence has more to do with the capacity of solving problems and fashioning products in a context-rich and naturalistic setting (Armstrong 2000, 1). In his Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Gardner classifies eight abilities that he calls intelligences (Ibid. 4):. Fig. 3 Multiple Intelligences. - Musical-rhythmic: ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch and timber. - Visual-spatial: ability to imagine the visual spatial world accurately. - Verbal-linguistic: sensitivity to sounds, structure, meaning and function of words. 20.

(52) - Logical-mathematical: sensitivity to logical and numerical patterns. - Bodily-kinaesthetic: ability to control body movements and handle objects. - Interpersonal: ability to respond to moods, motivations and desires of other people. - Intrapersonal: ability to discern one’s own emotions and knowledge. - Naturalistic: ability to classify species in the environment. Gardner. later. suggests. spiritual and moral intelligences. (Theory. of. Multiple. Intelligences: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2018). He also makes clear that any person posesses all these intelligences while some of them are more developed. The major asset of this theory is that it emphasizes the diversity of pupils’ intelligence and prevents their early categorization according to a single intelligence test. Also, many educational studies have been conducted to implement this theory to the educational environment by creating innovative tasks that stimulate various aspects of the pupil’s intelligence. Armstrong, for example, draws upon the Multiple Intelligence Theory and describes the teacher as the one who lectures, draws on the blackboard, shows a videotape, plays music, provides hands-on experiences, has the students build something tangible or interact with each other, pauses to give the students time for self reflection, undertakes self-paced work, links the personal experiences or feelings of the student to the studied subject and gives opportunities for learning to occur through living things within nature (2000, 39). Armstrong applies the theory to class environment in addition to the curriculum and lesson planning. For him, implementation in lesson planning means mainly to vary and alternate a wide range of activities. He also encourages a positive approach to assessing and evaluating, taking into account the growth of the student as a personality. 3.2. Memory. Learners differ also in their memorization ability. Teachers should take into account two kinds of memory when planning lessons: short term and long term memory. Perceived information is saved in short term memory. There, it is quickly forgotten if it is not transmitted to the long term memory through consolidation. This transmission is decisive for the learning process (Fontana 1997, 156). Long-term memory is the stage where informative knowledge is held indefinitely. It is defined in contrast to shortterm and working memory, that persist for only about 18 to 30 seconds. (Long-term Memory: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2018). 21.

(53) According to Fontana, there are strategies that the teacher should adopt to improve the long term memory of children and to consolidate the knowledge they acquired (Fontana 1997, 156): -. When a new item or information is presented the teacher should give enough time to the pupils before going on to another item. Waiting, repeating and leaving time for questions is required.. -. New items should be built upon previous knowledge. The teacher is supposed to give opportunities for associating, eliciting and linking up. The aim is to enhance an inner creative construction process of the target language (Hedge 2000, 11).. -. Teachers should plan to teach only a few new items to remember at a time, in addition to the revision of already acquired knowledge.. -. Teachers should be aware that children of 2nd level Lower Secondary school between the ages of 11 to 14 can fully concentrate only for a period of 10 to 20 minutes (1 to 1.30 minutes/year).. -. Long term memory is also activated by providing new items in an engaging and meaningful way for the children. Information should be understandable, interesting and relevant to the child. It should be presented in a way that appeals to the senses and recalls emotions.. 3.3. Motivation. Intelligence alone does not guarantee a successful learning process. Intake or the assimilation of taught items is among others affected by motivation. Harmer distinguishes between integrative and instrumental motivation. He defines integrative motivation as coming from natural curiosity and the need to learn things that we consider interesting and useful for our lives. Whereas instrumental motivation emerges from a specific goal, like passing the exam or getting a job, regardless of the subject of learning itself (Ibid.). Fontana uses the terms intrinsic and extrinsic motivation which correspond respectively to integrative and instrumental motivation, defined above. He agrees that stimulating intrinsic motivation in the pupils is the aim of every good teacher. But he suggests that extrinsic motivation is also useful when it is used to a certain extent (1997, 153). 22.

(54) Extrinsic motivation is supported by praising, testing, giving grades or writing evaluations to communicate the improvement of the child to the parents etc. Generally, pupils are given feedback while their interest in the result is still high. If used properly, extrinsic motivation enhances the feeling of accomplishment and the prestige of the child among peers, the child also develops a performance-related motivation. However, there are some risks linked to using extrinsic motivation: -. The constant failure of the child in competitive testing and grading can lead to frustration and low confidence in one’s ability. At that point, procedures aiming at extrinsic motivation become an obstacle to the learning process. The pupil should be given opportunities to experience success.. -. Extrinsic motivation is a form of pressure that can cause anxiety. The teacher should be cautious and know the amount of anxiety that is healthy and still represents a kind of motivation for the child. Finally, Fontana underlines the importance of „subtle praise“, which means praising the personality of the pupil in her struggle to learn and experiment, as opposed to praising a concrete behaviour or encourage competition between peers. For the teacher, motivation is a key issue that should be encompassed in all designed lessons. He is supposed to present new, relevant and interesting knowledge that triggers thoughts and involves problem solving in a socially comfortable environment. The teacher should provide learners with opportunities to interact with each other, to take decisions for themselves, to experience success and to have the perspective of fulfilling personal goals (Mareš 2013, 255-256). As Harmer states: „One of the main tasks of the teacher is to provoke interest and involvement in the subject even when students are not initially interested in it“(Harmer 1998, 8). Though, the teacher is not the only responsible for the pupil’s motivation. Parents’ attitude towards school and learning in general, their approach to their children’s study results and their expectations for them can also become extrinsic motivation or a source of anxiety (Ibid. 154).. 23.

(55) 3.4. Learning Styles and Strategies. Children tend to have preferences and individual strategies in acquiring and processing new information. The learning style of a pupil is a variable that is increasingly taken into account especially within the concept of differentiated instruction. However, the simplified viewpoint on the learning style variable is also often criticized. Teachers are warned not to overestimate it and not to confuse it with the thinking style of the pupil. Educators are recommended to consider learning styles as a means of effective teaching, not as a whole language approach (Landrum and Mc Duffie, 2010). Mareš defines learning styles as gentle manifestations of human individuality in different learning situations. They are metacognitive learning processes that the learner prefers in a certain period. They are specific in their orientation, motivation, structure to apply, succession, sophistication, depth and flexibility (2013, 192). There are many learning styles models designed in various research work, as for example Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Model, which is also called the Productivity Environmental Preference Survey or PEPS (Hawk. Shah. 2007, 10). The design of the PEPS survey is based on Dunn and Dunn’s definition of learning style which they see as „the way in which individuals begin to concentrate on, process, internalize, and retain new and difficult information” (Ibid, 9). It focuses on the environmental, emotional, sociological and psylogical elements that affect the learning process (Ibid.). Some EFL researchers, like Hedge (2000, 18), mention two categories of learners as regards learning styles: the global and the analytic learner. The former prefers to deal with the new item as a whole and then understands details, whereas the latter prefers to understand parts before dealing with an overview of a piece of knowledge. Hedge believes that these categories are related to culture and experience, and recommends focusing on the strategies that good learners use. She states that strategies can be trained and that it is beneficial for the learner to be aware of the strategy he/she uses and of other strategies that may be developed (Ibid. 19).. 24.

(56) Hedge then distinguishes four types of learning strategies (Ibid. 77): -. Cognitive strategies that are thought processes used in learning, characterized by the way the learner deals with presented information by making analogies with prior knowledge, by visual memorization, auditory memorization, repetition, writing and inferencing or making guesses. This category also includes deeper strategies such as reasoning, analysing and summarizing.. -. Metacognitive strategies that Oxford defines as thinking about one’s own learning and how to make it effective, such as previewing the lesson, reading teacher’s comments, making notes during the lesson, self-evaluating and error monitoring (1996, 31).. -. Communication strategies that enable learners to compensate their lack of language knowledge in a communicative situation by using body language, synonyms, paraphrases or even words from the mother tongue to maintain a conversation. The ability to communicate requires taking risks and learning by being involved in a meaningful communicative context (Hedge 2000, 53).. -. Socio-affective strategies that the learners use to initiate conversations with native speakers, collaborating on a task, watching a film or listening to the radio in the target language. The learner does not have to understand every word, his frequent exposure to the language helps him/her feel more comfortable about it, reduces anxiety and provides opportunities for self-encouragement, and self-reward.. Teachers should observe the pupils to find out about their learning styles and strategies. Interviews, questionnaires and methods that help assess learning strategies can be used. “Through strategy assessment teachers can help their students recognize the power of using language learning strategies for making learning quicker, easier, and more effective“(Oxford 1996, 40). These strategies should be applied and trained in and outside the classroom. The teacher should initiate activities that would enable pupils to try and train learning strategies so that the pupils experience their benefits or even adopt them as their own. This would lead to the reinforcement of the pupils’ autonomy.. 25.

(57) 3.5. Learner Autonomy. Autonomy is another aspect in which learners can differ from each other. The word autonomy comes from the Greek auto-nomos, and it literally means “self”-“law”. In the field of education, Holec uses the term “learner autonomy” for the first time in 1981 and defines it as the ability to take charge of one's own learning (Learner Autonomy: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2018).. Fig. 4 Learner Autonomy. Autonomy represents a range of behaviours that the learner can develop through practice. The learners recognize that they are responsible for their own learning and they are fully involved in all aspects of the learning process: planning, implementing learning tasks and evaluating their outcomes (Little 2003, 12). To promote autonomy, teachers should manage the classroom so that the pupils accept responsibility for their own learning, and get involved in planning the next steps, monitoring the learning tasks and evaluating their effectiveness. Teachers should also insist on the use of the target language in the classroom for communication, learning and reflection (Ibid.). One way to develop learning autonomy is to provide and share with the pupil well planned and structured instruments in terms of objectives, syllabus, contents, materials, methods and techniques, and also evaluation procedures. Promoting autonomy may arise concerns among teachers related to excessive pupils’ independence and possible chaos. However, the classroom can still be very restrictive by means of a thoroughly implemented set of rules ensuring a functional environment for learning. The teacher will then have enough room for planning and managing the classroom procedures that would trigger the efforts of the pupil to attain his/her objective. In the classroom, the teacher’s responsibility is also to monitor and scaffold the pupils’ work. Activities empowering pupils and giving them an amount of autonomy are usually openended, they are based on different materials and personal or group choices. They include 26.

(58) information search, collaborative work in pairs or in groups, demonstration of learning outcomesthe result, self-evaluation and reflection on the pupil’s own learning. Learners’ autonomy is a concept that should be encouraged among pupils, especially in the context of mixed ability classes where differentiation is required. Procedures promoting learner autonomy and self-directed learning can enhance the motivation of the pupils and the effectivity of the teaching process. Teachers should help learners to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and set up their own learning goals and evaluate their own learning. Learners’ interest in learning English inside and outside the classroom should be stimulated. They become more selfdirected in their learning. They can also learn from peers, not just from the teacher. They discover English language on their own, and are given the opportunity to express their own opinions on what to learn in the classroom (Nakata, 2011). 3.6. Knowledge and Experience. The last category of differences among pupils that is discussed for the purpose of this thesis is the pupils’ previous knowledge and experience (Prodromou 1992, 7). Some pupils are talented in languages, which means they have a better verbal-linguistic intelligence. They are likely to progress faster in all or some language skills: listening, speaking, reading or writing. Some pupils have a rich vocabulary in some topics but make basic mistakes in grammar. Pupils may also be exposed to English outside the school. Previous experience and the acquired level of English language proficiency can largely differ among pupils and should also be pre-assessed and taken into account when the teacher plans differentiated instruction. 3.7. Implications of Learner’s Variables for the Teacher. According to the variables described above, the teacher is expected to meet the needs of the pupils by: - Creating a stimulating and socially comfortable class environment. - Building on their previous knowledge by means of associating, eliciting and linking up, reasoning, analysing, summarizing and memorizing.. 27.

(59) - Teaching an amount of new, relevant and interesting facts that respects the children’s average concentration time. - Varying and alternating a wide range of activities, such as lecturing, showing videos, playing songs, providing hand-on experiences, assigning self-paced work and linking to the personal experience of the pupil. - Providing time for questions, reflection and revision. - Using English in the classroom, providing clear instructions, structured objectives, varied materials and open-ended tasks. - Promoting Communication among pupils, collaboration and exposure to English language. - Giving opportunities for interaction among peers by forming flexible groupings and enabling the demonstration of learning outcomes. - Allowing the involvement of the pupils in planning and decision making. - Training learning strategies outside and inside the classroom such as making notes or monitoring errors. - Adopting a positive approach to assessing and evaluating. - Praising, giving feedback on improvement and giving opportunities to experience success.. 28.

(60) 4. Teaching Mixed Ability Classes. After focusing on the characteristics that make learners different from each other, the characteristics of a class as a social group and as a psychosocial learning environment for the pupils and the teachers will be discussed. 4.1. The Class as a Social Group. Every classroom creates a social environment where not only cognitive learning takes place. The class is an important social group where children undergo a significant part of their socialization process. This is especially true for teenagers in Lower Secondary schools, for whom peers become very influential. The class is a small social group (Mareš 2013, 575) where membership is not automatic. It has its hidden social norms, social pressure and a common attitude towards learning. Every pupil has a certain social role in the class: „The exemplary pupil, the class clown, the provocateur, the class beauty, the sports star, the computer expert, the musician, the artist, etc.” (Ibid, 579) 2. 1F. The structure of the relationships within the class affects the development of each pupil and his/her sense of identity. Pupils differ in their influence and their attractiveness to the social net of the class. With time, a core group can form, and other peripheral groups are created, in addition to individuals who are seen as outsiders. Research showed that a healthier class in terms of psychosocial environment is the class that is decentralized in the structure of its inner relationships (Ibid, 581). This literally means that social pressure is weaker and pupils tend to behave in a friendlier manner. Class management is more effective when the teacher is aware of the nature of the relationships in a class. Teachers can choose activities and create groupings that enhance the decentralization of the class as a social net. Thus, they can make every pupil cooperate, and prevent certain individuals from becoming outsiders and from developing low self-esteem.. 2. Translated by the author of the diploma thesis. 29.

(61) 4.2. Disadvantages of Mixed Ability Classes. While teaching mixed-ability classes, it is difficult to ensure effective learning for all the pupils because materials available at schools are usually designed for a certain age and a certain level of language skills that pre-suppose a moderate range of differences between pupils (Ur 1991, 303). The teacher usually faces the problem of finding materials, techniques and methods that can be suitable for all the learners in the class. In a mixed ability class, a teacher relying on a textbook is bound to constantly create additional materials to simplify the studied item for weaker learners, and to plan extra work to activate faster ones. Also, the content and the form of teaching methods whether available or chosen by the teacher do not necessarily engage or challenge all the pupils in a mixed ability class. Any chosen item can be suitable only for a part of the class. The rest of the pupils would find it either too easy or too difficult or simply uninteresting. This may result in a teaching process where only a few pupils participate, whereas the more advanced pupils get bored and the weaker ones lose concentration. This is also the reason why mixed ability classes bear the risk of discipline and management problems (Ibid.). 4.3. Advantages of Mixed Ability Classes. However, some researchers think that the issue of mixed ability classes should be considered positively. Being aware of the advantages of mixed ability classes can help designing suitable teaching strategies. The differences among pupils, as individuals, in their life experience, abilities and interests, give room to varied interaction with peers. Many topics can become a form of authentic discussions, which represents an educative benefit of awareness and empathy for all the learners (Ur 1991, 305). Also, the variety of abilities can encourage cooperation and peer teaching as a step towards learner autonomy, since the teacher can not pay attention to all the pupils (Ibid.). Finally, the various aspects challenging the teacher in a mixed ability class enhance his/her creativity and professional development (Ibid.). 30.

(62) 5. Differentiated Instruction. In the previous chapters, the issues of child development and learning variables were tackled. Learners vary in their cognitive, psycho-social, and moral development. They are also different in their type of intelligence, motivation and memory, in their autonomy and experience and in their learning styles and strategies. Such a partitioned environment should be treated differently. One of the suggested methods is differentiation. Tomlinson defines differentiated instruction as varied approaches to the content that is taught to the pupils, the process of teaching and the expected learning product, in anticipation and response to pupils’ differences in individual readiness, interest and learning profile. (2001, 7). 5.1. Characteristics of Differentiated Instruction. Differentiated instruction is a holistic approach to teaching and learning. Tomlinson recommends to apply differentiation gradually with regards to some general characteristics that can be defined as following (2001, 1-5): - Differentiated instruction provides challenging tasks and clear concepts to all students, and builds a sense of community while working sometimes with the whole class, sometimes with small groups, and sometimes with individuals. - Flexible grouping is used. Pupils work individually, in pairs and experience many different forms of grouping, created according to learners’ strengths or weaknesses, or according to the pupils’ choice. - Teachers plan a variety of ways to promote learning based on their knowledge of pupils’ abilities, needs and interests. - Teachers accommodate the content, the process or/and the product of the learning activity to the actual needs of the pupils. - Assignments can be differentiated in terms of quality as well as quantity, which means that the nature of the task can also be adjusted to the pupil’s needs. - Assessment becomes a routine that is carried out by the teacher in various ways, from observation to formal tests. Their aim is to determine the development of the pupils and plan further learning experience.. 31.

(63) - The teacher helps the pupils in developing ground rules for behaviour, so that they manage to work on differentiated activities simultaneously. - Pupils are taught to share responsibility and to be active in taking and evaluating decisions. They are allowed to move and talk as long as it is purposeful for fulfilling the tasks. - Differentiated instruction includes a classroom environment that promotes autonomy, mutual acceptance and respect. To be successful in implementing differentiated instruction in their classroom, teachers have to learn more about their pupils by observing their behaviour in the classroom, or by collecting data to determine their needs, cognitive abilities, preferences, learning strategies, degree of autonomy and readiness. Teachers should know as well the main objectives of the taught subject according to the curriculum. Then, they are supposed to structure and apply these objectives into the differentiated lesson, considering both the content and its options, the teaching methods or the process as a whole, and the output of the pupils (Ibid.). 5.2. Differentiated Content in Language Learning. Content means what is expected from the learner to learn, it is the “input” of teaching and learning. Teachers differentiate the content when they plan different materials and possibilities for the pupils to express the facts, the concepts, and the skills they are about to learn (Tomlinson 2001, 72). The content is usually framed within the standards of the national educational system. The level of English language to acquire during the four years of Lower Secondary school, according to Czech National Curriculum Framework, is usually A2 (Bilanová, Lorencovičová, Netolička 2009, 12). It includes (RVP ZŠ 2016, 27) 3: 2F. -. „Sound and graphic representation of the language - development of sufficiently comprehensible pronunciation, ability to distinguish by hearing elements of phonological system of language, verbal and sentence accent, intonation, spelling control of words of acquired vocabulary. “. 3. Translated by the author of the diploma thesis. 32.

(64) -. „Vocabulary - developing sufficient vocabulary for oral and. written. communication related to the topics discussed and communication situations; working with the dictionary. “ -. „Thematic areas - home, family, housing, school, leisure, culture, sport, health care, feelings and moods, eating habits, weather, nature and the city, shopping and fashion, society and its problems, the media, travelling and the realms of the countries of the relevant linguistic area. “. -. „Grammar - developing the use of grammatical phenomena to enable the pupil's communication intention (elementary errors that do not interfere with the meaning of communication and understanding are tolerated. “. The Czech National Curriculum Framework also states six key competences that confirm the psycho-social and the moral theories presented in previous chapters: learning competences; competence to solve problems; communicative competence; social and personal competences; civic competence and working skills (RVP ZŠ. 2016, 10). It is necessary that the management of mixed ability classes relies on an amount of pupils’ autonomy and collaboration. Therefore, the content should implement learning strategies training, and responsibility of one’s own learning. It should also encourage collaboration to improve the learning process and the class or school environment, and to provide opportunities for self-expression and discussions on the actual topics of the classroom, the school and the society. Some of the strategies used in content differentiation: -. Concept-based Teaching in which key concepts and principles and their utility are emphasized. This means that, in differentiated instruction, content should not be perceived as only an amount of facts. „Concepts are the building blocks of meaning“(Tomlinson 2001, 74). Activities are differentiated so that concepts are accessible to all, promoting the pupils’ cognitive skills potential, and encouraging them to produce at a high level (Ibid.). Pupils are motivated because they are likely to experience success in challenging tasks that are not too difficult nor too easy (Ibid.).. 33.

(65) -. Tiered assignments that differentiate content in its complexity while keeping a common key concept to be taught to all pupils. Concept-beased teaching enables the implementation of this major strategy in differentiated instruction. (Tomlinson 2001, 101).. -. Compacting which means assessing the pupils evaluate their knowledge in the studied topic. The teacher then differentiates content by increasing or decreasing the depth and complexity of the taught concepts (Ibid, 98). For example, advanced pupils can join class activities in areas where they lack mastery. If the activity has no added value for them, they are assigned more difficult or complementary tasks. In this case, they are also provided with examples of good quality work, and assisted in their efforts to achieve success. On the other hand, for weaker pupils, the teacher can determine an adequate content to be taught and present it in an interesting context. Scaffolding should be provided, so that the pupils acquire the key-concept with success. At the same time, it is necessary to bear in mind that a weak pupil may be weak only in some areas of a topic and for a limited period of time (Ibid, 11-13).. -. Differentiating resources and materials. There are many possibilities to vary materials on the same topic in the English language. The Internet is an important resource in addition to audios and videos that can be differentiated according to the levels, the interests or the learning styles of the pupils (Ibid, 75). Tomlinson adds to the list other class materials as flow charts and concept maps to emphasize key vocabulary and grammar (Ibid.).. -. Interest Centers can be established in the classroom, containing independent study materials, differentiated according to interest and complexity. They serve pupils who want to deepen their knowledge and work with other pupils of the same interests. They can be part of a classroom library containing different dictionaries encyclopaedias, magazines, English manuals, stories, flashcards and games (Ibid, 100).. -. Learning Contracts: a learning contract is an agreement signed between the teacher and the pupil, where the pupil is granted some freedom on how to fufill the task. 34.

(66) Both parties agree upon the term and standards of the product. The teacher designs the contract so that it matches the learning needs o the pupil. When planning the content for a mixed ability class, teachers can differentiate it using different strategies and adapting a concept-based teaching to comply with the pupils’ interests and learning styles, as mentioned. They can also decide of the depth or complexity of the piece of knowledge that the pupil will explore (Borja, Soto, Sanshez, 2015). 5.3. Differentiated process in Language Learning. The teacher may also choose to differentiate the process of teaching and learning. The process means “how” to teach, including teaching plans, tasks and activities that give the pupil the opportunity to assimilate and make sense of the content. Pupils process the input of teaching and learning (Tomlinson 2001, 79). Prodromou focuses especially on open-ended and communicative activities in addition to drama techniques and emphasizes the pleasure principle. An open-ended exercise is defined as „an exercise that allows the learners to work in their own way, at their own pace, within the frame of one and the same lesson“ (Prodromou 1992, 73). It aims at involving learners of all levels, exploiting their diversity and unifying them as a class. Even standard questions and exercises can be transformed from closed to open-ended, enabling pupils to come up with a wide range of correct answers and solutions, and encouraging them to participate. Close questions, for example, can have either correct or incorrect answers, enhancing possible anxiety and excluding weak learners. The teacher should allow the pupil to be at least partly right (Ibid. 75). However, close exercises can also be modified and used as a means of learning. They can be personified to involve every pupil or differentiated in their complexity. Examples of close questions that can be modified are displayed in Tab. 2.. 35.

(67) Tab. 1 From Closed to Open-ended Tasks (adapted from Prodromou 1992, 71- 83). Type of exercise. Modification for mixed ability classes. Close questions:. Can be personalized without the possibility of correct. Yes/No, Wh-,. or wrong answers.. Either/or, Tags,. Can take more correct answers.. True/False. Can be used when both answers are partly true. Pupils can indicate their confidence in the answer on a scale.. Multiple choice. Can help learning by logically excluding wrong forms,. questions. provided that answers represent possible mistakes.. Gap-filling. Can be differentiated in the complexity of the text or in the type of missing words.. Substitution tables. Can be personalized.. Dictation. The topic can be the pupils’choice or their contribution. Can be read once and the pupils try to cooperate to complete the whole text. Can be used as introduction to a productive task.. Flexible grouping is another effective strategy when differentiating the process in mixed ability classes. Sometimes, it brings pupils of different abilities together in a task where they are supposed to help and support each other. And sometimes, the teacher chooses to group pupils of similar ability or of similar interests (Kaur, 2017). Group work helps reducing dependance on teachers and promotes collaborative work. As for communicative activities, they are based on purposeful and authentic interaction where the learner has the choice of language and meaning to express himself. If used in mixed ability classes, communicative activities should also be adapted to the quality of open-endedness. They can imply a choice of language or topic in addition to process differentiation (Prodromou 1992, 84). Prodromou mentions three types of communicative activities: re-ordering activities that provide scaffolding for the final product, questionnaires used as personalized spoken drills, open-ended pictures and visual documents used as a source for information gap activities. Examples of communicative activities are shown in Tab. 3. 36.

(68) Tab. 2 Differentiating Communication Activities (adapted from Prodromou 1992, 84-102).. Re-ordering. Jumbling. The pupils understand and manipulate a variety of language items, for example linkers, sentences or paragraphs,. to. order. them. logically. or. chronologically. Ranking. The pupils decide on the order of a variety of items according to their personal opinion and experience.. Questionnaires. Find someone Pupils can practice a variety of structures, asking who …. peers given questions. Questions can become more difficult towards the end of the questionnaire. Later, pupils can create their own questionnaires.. Know. Open-ended questions with a personal aspect are. yourself. answered by ticking options. Pupils can compare the results and discuss them, driven by their curiosity to know themselves and each other.. Open-ended. Describe and The pupils in one group ask questions about the. pictures. draw. picture and draw it while the other group answer the questions. Another possibility is that the teacher describes a picture and the pupils draw it. Or the pupils draw pictures on the basis of a list of vocabulary and describe them to their peers in pairs.. Jigsaw. The pupils receive two versions of a picture with missing details (one more difficult than the other). They should complete their pictures according to the description of the teacher and compare the results.. Visual. Information. Charts, tables, diagrams, applicaction forms, maps,. documents. transfer. etc. can be used in information gap activities to practise listening, reading, speaking and writing.. 37.

(69) Also, drama techniques are open-ended and involve the personality of the pupil, since they include cognitive, emotional and physical aspects. They promote the social integration of the pupil in the class social group by creating an open and relaxed atmosphere (Prodromou 1992, 103). Drama activities vary from mime and breaking the ice activities to simulations where an imaginary situation or problem is given and pupils should react to it as themselves. There are also role-plays where the pupils are given individual roles in addition to a situation or a problem (Ur 2009, 132) Prodromou finally emphasizes the pleasure principle. Most of what the teacher does in the classroom is meant to provide learners with some pleasure, whether it is the pleasure of learning something new, achieving a task or simply experiencing social intraction (1992, 120). Pleasure may take many forms. Thus, there are activities that are based on the pleasure principle, mainly jokes, puzzles, games, quizzes and stories. These activities allow pupils to come together, despite their differences in personality, interest, level of English, learning style or culture. Some of them proved to be efficient in mixed ability classes (Ibid). Tomlinson mentions a large range of other activities that can be differentiated. The list includes for example journals, graphic organizers, creative problem solving, cubing (assigning six tasks on a cube), role playing, Jigsaw (cooperation between peers collecting information on different facets of a topic), mind-mapping, model making, listing pluses and minuses, or interesting points about a topic (2001, 80). Tomlinson categorizes several types of activities that differentiate Process based on their principles, as shown in Tab. 3.. 38.

(70) Tab. 3 Process Differentiating Activities (adapted from Tomlinson 2001).. Type of activity. Principle of the activity. Tiering. Pupils learn the same key concepts but they are assigned various. assignments. tasks using materials differring in complexity or learning style (Ibid, 101).. Anchor activities. Activities for fast learners, to work on after successful completion of given tasks. They range from additional practice activities to reading or journal writing (Ibid, 35).. Learning Centers. Materials on a given topic with a variety of ways to access the content according to pupils’ levels, interests or learning styles.. or Stations. The pupils record their own progress at centers without having to try all of them to practice the needed skills (Ibid, 103).. Independent. The pupil investigates a problem within his/her topic of interest.. Project. The work method and type of expected product are discussed and planned with the teacher (Ibid, 99).. Mentorship. Pupils work with a teacher assistant, a parent volunteer or an older pupil who guides them to achieve difficult projects or simply to overcome specific obstacles (Ibid, 105).. Learning. The teacher grants a certain freedom and choice about how a. Contracts. pupil will complete a task, and the pupil agrees to use the freedom appropriately in designing and completing work according to the specifications (Ibid, 106).. 5.4. Differentiated Product in Language Learning. Many activities that are differentiated in the process predict a learning product, like role plays, mind maps, models, essays, dialogues, etc. at their completion. The product is how the pupil demonstrates acquired knowledge. It expresses the pupil’s understanding and application of the content. It also represents the pupil’s own achievement, which can be highly motivating (Tomlinson 2001, 85). 39.

(71) When designing a product, the teacher should take into consideration the content, the key concepts and skills of the learning unit and try to give the pupils the opportunity to expand this knowledge. Then, the teacher sets quality assets and communicates them clearly to the pupils. The criteria of a quality product are (Tomlinson 2001, 86): -. The amount of the displayed knowledge in terms of facts, concepts and skills.. -. The followed methods, stages and the applied working habits.. -. The innovation and thought in the expression of the product.. A well designed product is based on an authentic task addressing real problems in the real world. It should give room to creative and critical thinking, require multiple sources, time planning and guidance or scaffolding to promote production skills (Ibid, 88). A product can be subject to self or peer evaluation before being evaluated by the teacher. Error is considered to have a positive role in the pupil’s learning construction process (Hedge. 2000, p. 15). Therefore, making errors should not lead to demotivation. Pupils should be provided with constructive feedback and with room for reflection in a supportive environment. An important aspect of learning is metacognition and reflection on one’s own work and on the work of peers. Differentiating the product is giving the pupils the opportunity to demonstrate their learning of a common key concept in a variety of forms. The format of the product is sometimes derived from the curriculum as writing an essay, a letter, etc. But it is also differentiated according to the interests, levels of readiness or learning styles of the pupils (Tomlinson 2001, 90). A differentiated product is an area where advanced pupils can excel and stretch their knowledge span. It is at the same time an opportunity for weak pupils to improve their knowledge on the topic, in addition to their general production skills. They should feel responsible for the completion of the task and feel free to express themselves in spoken language as well as in writing. Both advanced and weak pupils should be granted enough freedom as well as guidance. Scaffolding during product completion also means to help the pupils find resources even in their mother tongue, and use the Internet and resource books and materials. It also means to help them plan the stages and the timetable of the product completion, and set their own quality criteria in a creative and autonomous way (Ibid, 92). 40.

(72) 6. Practical Part. On the basis of the theoretical findings, the following questions were determined for the purpose of this diploma work: 1.. Is it realistic to differentiate teaching in the environment of a Czech Lower Secondary school?. 2.. What are the conditions that make differentiation promote pupils’ learning?. 3.. Do differentiation inhance pupils’ motivation and productivity?. To answer these questions, qualitative research methods were used. Qualitative research is defined as „a primarily exploratory research, used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research“ (De Franzo, 2011). Three differentiated lessons were designed to be taught in a 7th grade class at an ordinary school in the centre of a Czech town. The lessons planning was realized according to the following criteria: -. The content of the lessons was implemented without altering the actual English Language syllabus of the class in terms of grammar concepts and vocabulary.. -. Each lesson deals with the differentiation of one aspect of EFL: content, process and product. -. Each lesson responds to one aspect of pupils’ needs: English level in the given topic, learning style and preferences, and broad interests.. -. The designed activities promote the ideas of pupils’ autonomy and pupils’ cooperation as opposed to competitivity. The first lesson deals with the teaching process when differentiating pupils’ levels of English. The second focuses on the presentation of the content bearing in mind the different learning styles of the pupils, and the last one experiments the pupils’ learning product when their interests are taken into account. The design of these lessons was based on the pupil’s needs in terms of study results, learning style and interest, depicted by means of a thourough investigation that consisted in two interviews of the class teacher, a pupils’ questionnaire and a survey.. 41.

(73) One of the interviews was about the psycho-social atmosphere, the motivation and the results of the class as a whole. The second was about individual pupils in the class, their results, and other relevant class teacher comments. The questionnaire addressed the pupils, focusing on their individual learning styles and learning preferences. On the other hand, the survey spotted their individual interests in life, generally. 6.1. Characteristics of the School. It is a relatively large school complex right in the historical centre of the city. It is divided into two buildings; the first is a large Primary school, and the second older building is separated by a busy road and accommodates the Lower Secondary level and. With its location and architecture from the 19th century, the building is both large and comfortable, especially through its opulent central staircase and two corridors, where students spend most of their breaks. A screen broadcasting spots aims at attracting the pupils’ attention, showing pedagogical themes and projects corresponding to their age category, apparently under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. The Staff Room is spacious, and contains a number of work desks. In the middle of the open space, there’s a printer next to two workstations. The Data projector and interactive whiteboards are common in the large classrooms. Other school facilities are functional but not modern. 6.2. Characteristics of the Class. The 7th grade class teacher, qualified as an English teacher for Lower Secondary schools, kindly agreed upon the interviews, the questionnaire and the experimental lessons. She is responsible for the class and knows her 21 pupils very well. The aim of the first interview was to understand the psycho-social atmosphere of the class, its overall study results and particularities, in addition to the topics and the key concepts that were being studied at the time of the research. The teacher was asked to answer the following questions referring to the class as a whole.. 42.

Figure

Updating...

References

Related subjects :